NFL moves: Derek Carr goes to Saints, Geno Smith stays with Seahawks

by Jacob Fuller

Rob Issa, FISM News

Derek Carr has landed in New Orleans and Geno Smith is staying in Seattle.

With NFL free agency still a week away, two sought-after quarterbacks were taken off the market on Monday.

Carr, who was released by the Las Vegas Raiders last month, agreed to a four-year contract with the Saints that reportedly is worth $150 million with $100 million in total guarantees. Smith, who was the NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 2022, is getting a three-year deal that is reportedly worth $105 million, including $52 million in the first year.

“We are excited to welcome Derek Carr to the New Orleans Saints,” Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said. “Derek’s experience, leadership, and skill set will be an asset to our offense.”

The 32-year-old Carr was selected to four Pro Bowls in his nine seasons with the Raiders. He set numerous team passing records including the franchise’s career passing yardage and touchdown pass marks and single-season mark in passing yards (4,804 in 2021). He also holds the franchise records for games with multiple-touchdown passes (69), games with a passer rating of at least 100.0 (47), and 300-yard passing contests (33).

But Carr has never won a playoff game and has only played in one postseason game. He’ll reunite with Saints head coach Dennis Allen, who was the head coach of the Raiders when Carr was drafted in the second round in 2014.

“I had the opportunity to work with Derek at the start of his professional football career,” Allen said.

In addition to his talent, I admired his approach to the game, work ethic, and commitment to get better every day in what were the formative stages of his career. From afar and when we played him as an opponent, I saw Derek’s development into one of the most productive quarterbacks in the National Football League. Derek is an outstanding addition to the New Orleans Saints and I can’t wait to get working with him and the rest of our team this offseason.

The Saints finished 7-10 last season in the franchise’s first season without either Sean Payton as coach or Drew Brees as quarterback since 2005. They haven’t reached the playoffs since Brees’ last season in 2020.

While Carr had a chance to visit several teams since the Raiders let him go on Feb. 14, the Seahawks made sure Smith didn’t get away.

The 32-year-old Smith resurrected his career last season after Seattle traded Russell Wilson. He earned his first opportunity to be a full-time starter since 2014 and thrived.

Smith set a franchise record with a career-best 4,282 yards passing, threw 30 touchdown passes, and just 11 interceptions. He led the NFL in completion percentage at 69.8% and made the Pro Bowl.

The Seahawks went 9-8 and made the playoffs with Smith.

“We have our guy. There is no lid on what we can do. The sky is the limit,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said about Smith after the season ended. “That along with returning him with his leadership factor that he had, he’s a big deal to us. I just couldn’t be more tickled by the way the whole thing turned out and how he handled it. Really, as we look to the future, he is a big part of why we are looking to the future so promisingly.”

Smith spent seven years as a backup with the Jets, Giants, Chargers, and Seahawks before finally getting a second chance to start.

After winning the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award last month, Smith praised God in a Twitter post.

“Thankful and Honored to receive the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award. All glory to God for the gifts and more,” Smith wrote.

After his new deal with the Seahawks, he wrote: “Thank You Lord.”